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Our last stop in Mexico was a mixed experience, but in the end, we loved it.

When we were planning our trip to Mexico, Tulum was the place we were most excited to visit. We had planned to hire a car and get around to as many cenotes, archaeological sites and beaches as we could. However, with high expectations can come disappointment, which is sadly what happened to us when we arrived. Thankfully we were able to turn that around halfway through the five days.


Arriving in Tulum with new plans.

Initially, we had planned to hire a car at Cancun airport, to drive us to and from Tulum and get around to all the sites. On our last day in Cancun, when we dived into researching this a bit more, we discovered the mandatory Mexican insurance we had not budgeted for. With this new knowledge, our plans changed, and instead of driving to Tulum on this morning, we hopped on the ADO bus and watched out the window for the 2-hour journey to our next destination.

We walked 10 minutes from the bus terminal to our Airbnb. Upon checking in, we discovered our room was not cleaned properly, and the wifi was not working. Not a great start. We handled the cleaning, grabbed some groceries from the supermarket a short walk away and then decided to get out of the room and go have a few drinks and, eventually, dinner. We ended up at El Mariachi Loco, a restaurant on the main road of Downtown Tulum, where we shared nachos, quesadillas and guacamole, along with beers and margaritas.


We really aren’t sure about this Airbnb.

Determined to move past the not-great-start of yesterday, we ate a quick breakfast in our room and then headed straight to the beach. We walked an hour from our accommodation to Playa Las Palmas and spent a few hours just relaxing by the ocean.

On the way to the beach, we walked past a restaurant that neither of us had stopped thinking about since we passed it. So for lunch, we walked back up Avenue Coba to Palo Santo, a Thai fusion restaurant. We shared a chicken pad thai, fresh vegetable spring rolls, and a refreshing lemonade each. We returned to our Airbnb to discover a speaker system had been set up on the communal rooftop, and the three clubs surrounding the hotel were all in full, base-thumping swing. We knew at this point that we were in for a long night.


The day our Tulum experience changed for the better.

This day started on a sour note. Neither of us got to sleep until the clubs around us closed at 5 am. We woke up at 8 am, made two very big cups of coffee and raced out to the pickup point for our day-long tour. Thankfully the day only continued to get better from here.

Our first stop on the tour was the Tulum Archaeological Zone. This was our favourite archaeological site in all of Mexico. While smaller than some of the others we visited, this ancient Mayan city is located right on the coastline of the Caribbean Sea. Instead of being surrounded by dust and dirt, the ruins have the picturesque ocean backdrop, with the salty sea breeze coming up over the cliff, lush green lawns and palm trees swaying in the wind.

The next stop, after a 50-minute drive inland, was Cenote Kuxtal. We were welcomed with a traditional Mayan ceremony and then given a choice to swim in the cenote or head inside for a buffet lunch. Everyone on our tour group headed for lunch, so we went the opposite way to the water. We were the only people inside the cenote for at least 15 minutes. Once the rest of the group began to head for the water, we jumped out and went to enjoy our lunch.

The third and final stop on the tour, just a short drive from Cenote Kuxtal, was the Coba Archaeological Zone. It is impressive how much there is to see at this site. We were only given an hour to explore the ruins, sadly, not enough time to thoroughly see it. There are bikes or tricycles with drivers to hire, but we knew we would be better on foot (as the fast walkers we are). We took off through the tree-lined jungle pathways, stopping to explore every site we stumbled upon. We came to a fork in the road, and without prior research on the site, we took a 50/50 chance at which was the best way to go (for your reference, we went left). Thankfully this direction took us to the main pyramid site of Nohoch Mul, which features the tallest pyramid in Coba.

We returned home after a long day, arriving at our Airbnb to the thumping music from the clubs. We had been talking with Airbnb all day about the situation, and as we returned home, it was confirmed that if we chose to leave, we would receive a full refund on the rest of the booking and a partial refund for the days we had stayed. Without hesitation, we packed our bags, booked another Airbnb, and walked across town to our new accommodation. This was possibly the best decision we made, and from this moment on, Tulum only felt better.


Time to explore a new part of town.

At 8 am, we both woke after a great night’s sleep. We made coffee and breakfast and enjoyed our morning in the courtyard by the pool of our new Airbnb. Afterwards, we decided to hit the streets and check out the area we were now staying in. As we walked from block to block, we noted cafes, restaurants and bars we wanted to try, we checked out the cute boutiques and admired the beautiful street art.

For lunch, we stopped at La Condesa, where Clark enjoyed fish tacos, Bec enjoyed a beef burrito, and we sipped on beers and margaritas as we watched the world go by on the street outside. After a few drinks, we wandered back to our Airbnb for a dip in the pool. We cooked dinner with the last of our fresh food and jumped into bed, ready for another peaceful night’s sleep.


Our final day in Mexico.

If you had asked us a few days ago how we felt about leaving Mexico, we would have said we were ready to move on. Now that we have moved into a beautiful Airbnb, welcomed by the kindest people and surrounded by amazing bars and restaurants, we are sad it is coming to an end. We had thought we would spend the last day by the beach, but the weather had other plans. Threatened by intermittent storms throughout the day (which came almost perfectly on schedule), we decided not to risk the 1-hour walk to the beach and instead spend the day trying some of the cafes, restaurants and bars we had tagged while exploring the neighbourhood yesterday.

We started with coffee and breakfast at Jaguar Negro Tulum. We took a seat at the bench looking out onto the street and enjoyed our morning watching everyone start their day. We came back for a swim at our Airbnb, planned out our next few days, and then ventured out again for lunch. A short walk from our Airbnb was a lovely little place called Burritos Street. We ordered lemon water, chicken tacos and a pork burrito to share. The people at the stall were very friendly, speaking their broken English to us while we attempted to speak broken Spanish to them. We made it back to our Airbnb right as another storm rolled through.

After another post-rain dip in the pool, we changed and went out again for drinks and dinner. We started at Chichan Tulum, where we had beers and wine, some guacamole and tacos. The courtyard of this restaurant was very beautiful, but we found the prices to be a little high for what we were having, so we paid the bill and decided to move on. We wandered down a few streets, undecided where to go when we passed a sign for happy hour with 2-for-1 margaritas. We couldn’t resist, so we took a seat at Ajala where we spent a few hours sipping on margaritas and eating guacamole and tacos. What a lovely way to end our three weeks in Mexico.


This is the Airbnb we moved to halfway through our stay in Tulum, and we loved it here. We booked at the last minute, around 6 pm, and checked in an hour later. The place was clean, with great amenities, and the pool area is a dream. Everyone we met was very welcoming, and they offer many services to help make your stay in Tulum as comfortable as possible (like arranging laundry service or bike hire). We also loved the area. It felt very safe and had great restaurants, bars and shops within walking distance.

This is the first Airbnb we booked in Tulum. We had originally booked the full five nights, but we only stayed for two. Our biggest issue was the noise. The hotel is surrounded by three clubs; a men’s club, a karaoke bar and a club that shares a wall with the hotel. They have loud music that plays until the early hours of the morning, and as the front door has gaps in the wood and doesn’t shut fully, the sound bleeds straight in. We both wore earplugs and could still hear (and feel) the music. On top of this, the wifi didn’t work until we asked a few times for it to be fixed, and parts of the kitchen weren’t cleaned. We will say the shower was good, the rooftop pool is lovely, and the walkable distance to the main street and supermarket was ideal, but that was not enough to make up for barely any sleep.


Before we make our way to country #6, we are briefly heading back to country #4. We found the flights out of Mexico were the cheapest to this city, so we are on our way to explore Houston, Texas – state #5 in country #4.


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use as well.

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